Among the many possible uses of blockchain, techno-enthusiasts have long thought of property record tracking as a prime example of how government could use the technology. Now, a company is working with a Vermont city to test the concept.

Since blockchain is still very much an emerging technology, it represents an early example of a city government trying the technology out. In South Burlington, Vt., population 18,000 or so, a company called Propy has set up a pilot project with the City Clerk’s Office to test out blockchain as a new way to record property transactions.

As of right now, the pilot is pretty limited in scope and runs almost entirely on the company’s side of operations. Propy is a website and mobile app where people can buy properties in distant places, then have the transactions recorded on the digital, decentralized ledger called a blockchain.

In South Burlington, the company wants to start off with some low-level integration into the city’s process of recording those transactions. City Clerk Donna Kinville described the pilot as having four levels: As of this story’s filing, the city has not yet received any deeds through Propy, though Kinville said the company is working on completing its first one in South Burlington.

Getting to levels three and four might require a lot of work, Kinville said, because it’s not clear whether the state would accept electronically filed deeds rather than electronic ones. It might be possible to perform the transaction electronically and then print out the necessary paperwork to file with the state, but those state requirements could be one place where established law prevents a new method of doing business. Read more from…

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